Monday, November 30, 2020

What Was That Sound?

The "food lovers" holiday has past and we now must dust off the treadmill (or in my case the elliptical). That extra five or eight pounds is not going to go away all by itself. Now we must also promise ourselves to eat super healthy for the next few weeks until Christmas (or other holidays at this time of year) when we can eat all the bread we want again. 

To also improve my health, I have been trying to increase my hours of sleep and one would think with the shorter days that this would be an easy win...not. So I was up at 5:30 A.M. this morning and listening/watching a course I am taking on photography via my laptop. The house was almost quiet except for the TREMENDOUS wind and rain we are getting today.  It would come in waves and then stop for a few minutes.  I paused the laptop video to refresh my coffee and just before I stood up, I heard a thick thud coming from the kitchen.  Had a tree branch hit the side of the house in this angry storm?  Did something fall over behind me in the kitchen?  Was I still alone with hubby sound asleep in bed or was someone stalking about the house in this dark morning?
I did not panic because it was a familiar sound.  It came from my citrus orchard in the corner windows of the kitchen.  The "thunk" was the fall of a Kafir lime about the size of a golf ball as the tree shed its ripe fruit.  It does become a prickly treasure hunt when I try to retrieve the green orb and nine times out of ten it falls into the farthest corner.

I am growing a Meyer Lemon tree, a Calamondin tree, and a Kafir lime tree inside and all super pruned so that they fit!  The large pots sit in plastic bins (ugly I know) because I have to really soak the trees each week.  They are mostly root and little soil, so I also fertilize every six weeks or so.  The Kafir and the Calamondon are full of fruit.  That means this winter I will get lots of fresh vitamin C.  These windows do not have the coatings that most windows have to reduce sunlight on fabrics and floors.  The timed lighting is necessary or trees would be dropping leaves as well as fruit!

I made turkey curry last night and the citrus was a nice addition sprinkled over the top of dishes and added to our beverages.

If I closed my eyes I could pretend I was eating in a small breakfast lanai on Bali.

Thursday, November 26, 2020


This is my favorite holiday. 

It falls usually on the mildest of days before winter and therefore you can have a fire in the fireplace or not!

It is a holiday where religion or lack of religion does not matter. You can still be thankful for all that you have been given and appreciate those around you whom you love whether you are thankful to a God or to good luck or to some mysterious Karma out there.

This is a holiday where you can eat most of the items on the table.  There is enough there to avoid allergies, avoid fatty foods, or just throw out the diet for 24 hours.

This is a holiday where people bring their best dishes and it is like going to a fancy restaurant with a large menu of endless suggestions.

(Yes, I am ignoring the history of how we treated Native Americans and tried to pretend that we were a peaceful refugee in a wonderful new land.  That was bad, but I am sure there were stories of refugees getting along with the natives back then as there are stories today of the same with new refugees.)

This year on Thanksgiving we must remember that even alone, we have much to be thankful for.  There is always some part of this past year that was rewarding or surprising or just peacefully there.

I hope that you can start a list of thankfulness and watch it grow as we move into the New Year.

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Not Busy Enough?

There may be people who find sheltering at home in a blank canvas with little to do.  Oh, you can always do the cleaning and repairing and maintaining that living in this world demands.  That back bedroom can do with some dusting and drawer emptying.  That hall closet is certainly a mess.  Just making the weekly food shopping/meal list can take an hour or more.  And certainly, your email box(es) need(s) attention.  Those old computer files are not going to delete themselves.  And at the end of the day to pass the time there is that long list of TV shows you have recorded.

But what if that is not enough?  Many businesses (such as local and city museums etc.) are working hard to get a little money from you using virtual lectures, podcasts and tours. Some are free and some require money.  My mailbox is full!

From the Kitchen with Marcus Samuelsson, Acclaimed Chef, and Restaurateur.  (This from my stock advisor...YES I know!)

Our series of tips covering functions on your camera that you’re most likely not using.

ELA Webinar Recording: Deer Resistant Native Groundcovers

The Case for Embracing Uncertainty in Art

How a Mary Wollstonecraft statue became a feminist battleground

A Winter Solstice Celebration from the Smithsonian

Take Some Time to Enjoy this Nature Centered Podcast from WBU!  Winging It Through Winter  (How birds survive.)

Mozart: The Reign of Love

Well now in all of this cutting and pasting from my emails, I have lost my Html font codes buried in a lot of lines of blogger code and I am too lazy to fix!  I guess the next virtual class, lecture, webinar I need will be on Html and Blogging editing.

Hope you are keeping busy virtually!

Saturday, November 07, 2020

The Fog Seems to Be Lifting

I am not a patient person by nature, but I can call forth a version of the strength of patience if I am not distracted by other things. It is so easy today to get distracted by stuff.  Wandering through your bank statements to make sure nothing has been posted that should not have been posted.  The same distraction of statements from your credit cards.  Nothing comes in paper, so all of this has to be done on the computer screen and each place I stop has a different layout, different tabs, and a different list.  The use of paper was so black and offers or ads or bright colored menus that take you down the wrong path. 

My driver's license is due to expire in December.  I thought I should make an appointment this month to make sure I can get in because our Covid numbers are now climbing once again.  I find on that cluttered website where there are photos of people smiling and wanting to provide good service, that I cannot make an appointment and the Dept. of Motor Vehicles has to send me a notice before I can begin the process to make an appointment.  So I have to trust that they will notice on the database of my pending expiration.  Then I have to hope that the mail they send me will get to me.  Our mail is slower these days.  Also, my driver's license has my physical address and not my mailing address on record.  I use to have a rural mailbox, but after two years in a row of trees falling on it and destroying it, I decided to rent the expensive mailbox at the Post Office.  I did get a license sticker last month that had been delayed because it did not have my P.O. Box in the address.  Therefore, you can imagine my concern that I will not get such a notice for my license renewal.

Therefore, I downloaded and printed the change of address form.  (I had put off filing this because it also would impact my ability to vote!  That is the address they use to certify the validity of the voter form which I dropped off.  I just Knew with 2020 being the evil year that it was, I would be told they could not count my vote due to the discrepancy.)

Therefore, this week I began to complete the form to mail to the DMV for a change of address.  This is not easy.  They need several numbers that are on my car.  I have to walk through a muddy forest to my neighbor's house, an acre away, to get the numbers off my car!  We had the driveway re-sealed yesterday...thus leading hubby trying to park the cars on the street road and my car sliding off the side of the grass into the muddy thick ditch.  We had to call the tow truck to pull it out and then asked our neighbor if we could park in her driveway.  (Her house is under contract and no one is living there now.)  Since I cannot walk on the driveway for several days, I must cross through the woods.

This morning hubby found he had left about $100 of meat in his car after our food shopping trip two days ago!  We bought a lot of stuff from the big box store and he missed his two little shopping bags.  That now goes into the trash!

These are not the distractions that I wanted to take my mind off of  Pennsylvania counting ballots (that they could have counted days ago!) following their state laws of having to wait until after election day!

Please tell me that 2021 will be better. (I just heard that Biden has been declared the winner...that helps!) To leave on a calm note, I posted the photo below toward my side of the river as the fog was lifting---how symbolic!

Thursday, October 29, 2020

That Old World Will Spin On

It seems that my days are filled with several hours of computer interaction.  Most of my shopping including 80% of my food shopping is done online.  I get a service to deliver and I leave a very generous tip because I am so thankful and I understand they need the money!!  I am so lucky and blessed that I can leave a good-sized tip.  Yes, they sometimes get the wrong thing or put in one thing I did not order, but it presents a nice challenge when I have to edit the weekly menu.  I do have to go to the store every third week, just to see what is there that I might have forgotten.

I order everything else online...fall bulbs, FUDs, camera storage unit, a few books, printer ribbon, etc.  You may wonder what a FUD is??  Well, we are doing more hiking and canoeing and I am weary and leary of all the porta-potties or lack thereof.  A FUD is something I can use at a hidden shoreline or hiking off-trail.  You can Google it if you like.  I also pay all bills online, negotiate business transactions via computer and all meetings are virtual.  It can be exhausting I think.

I saw the daughter's family a few weeks ago.  We met outside on her porch, although we did go inside the house briefly with a mask.  We went out for lunch to an open-air restaurant.  The kids are involved in daily athletic activities and interact with friends, so I must be careful.  I got some great(?) photos to add to my mantle.  They grow so fast even when you see them, it seems they blur the lens focus with their growth!  We will probably not meet for Thanksgiving, and all but the youngest has outgrown Halloween.  Then Christmas may be via some device.  We are working on that.  They have all apple devices and I have an android.  I did figure out an app to talk to them on my phone recently while my daughter was giving the eldest boy (Who has hair so thick and long a small army of mice could nest in it!) a hair cut.  She is the most talented daughter!  I have no idea how she got those genes. That was a bit of joy even when viewed on my small phone screen.  I am so thankful for such short moments.  My son and his wife call every so often but we have not been able to meet up.  He wanted to come down this week, but the remnants of Zeta have canceled that.

I finally was able to schedule specialist appointments for my chronic and sometimes debilitating cough.  It had gotten much worse starting this past January and not to belabor a health subject, we are working on an allergy-related premise.  ENT visit with a long camera down the nostril (that was fun!), chest, and nasal X-rays, and finally a visit to an Allergist who did the "multiple pricks of the inner arm test" and said I was allergic to "lots" of stuff.  He prescribed a nasal spray and a pill and sent me on my way for a month to see if we can treat it without shots and more tests.  Been in and out of a lot of doctor's office during this pandemic and staying lucky thus far.  Each office has a slightly different protocol and I see people who are not panicked and those who are VERY concerned.  Some of the offices let you wait in the car and call your cell phone.

We took a few days off and drove down to Charlottesville, VA to tour and try to forget about all the nastiness of 2020.  Our hotel assured us they had sterilized the room and I took wipes and spray to do a second sterilization.  We were there 3 and a half days and had no maid service to worry about.  We ate outside at restaurants or took take-out and ate in the hotel room.  Breakfast was in their breakfast room with only a handful of others.  The most dangerous part was the outdoor toilets.  But that was over two weeks ago, so perhaps we dodged the bullet there.  Montecillo is lovely even though I have been there dozens of times.  The gardens are ever-changing. The University of Virginia was a needed burst of energy, even though there were few students on campus, mostly seniors it looked like.  And catching fall in the Virginia mountains, although we were a bit early, was soul inspiring.

University of Virginia


Here today is gloomy with Zeta hurrying our way.  We are listening to Lang Lang on the DVD to pass the time.  I am blogging and hubby is reading.  I need to exercise and have been postponing due to my cough/allergy, but that is really just an excuse as my breathing has not been impacted.  I do not sleep well at night, so it takes me some time to get my morning/afternoon/whenever energy up.

Now I am off to read your blogs, which I have certainly missed, both actually and nostalgically.  I hope you are all keeping the blues and grays at bay and staying as kind to yourself and others as you can.  There is much kindness out there, although you do not see it in the news as much as I would like.

Friday, October 16, 2020

Yes, I am here and well

Absolutely no motivation to write on my blog.  Not sure if that is related to the horrible politics, the COVID19 fears, the normal creativity slump in writing, or that I am a bore to me and others.  I am back for now.  I will not write too much as I have to catch up on blog reading from all your posts!

Enjoy this bit of a warm fall while I disappear again for a bit and catch up.

Sunday, September 13, 2020


The new neighbors across  the way and the new neighbor  who coud not build on the "unperkable" property, and instead, put in a dock for 6 his six figure boat with  two 100 HP outboards makes weekends a bit noisier than usual.  I do not begrudge them their  weekends and holidays and perhaps we also were noisier when we first moved  here having visits with the grandchildren, but I am older now and would like a more peaceful neighborhood.  All of our quiet neighbors have left for retirement communities and a younger crowd is moving in.  This crotchety old one is going to have to accept the motocycle, skidoo,  large motoboat noise along with that of weekend lawmowers and leaf blowers, I guess.

It was noisy on the river this Sunday while I was weeding.  I was in my front yard and the noise on the river was muffled and blocked  by the house.  Hubby,  on the other  hand, felt it was time to  mow the lawn!  There were several hours of  THAT noise and then suddenly he was way up by the driveway and I had peace and calm once again.  Amazing how body tension disappates  when all is calm.

I could hear my natural neighbors once again.  I heard a woodpecker making some call.  I heard the song of an unusual bird  and wish I was able to find it.  Birds are migrating and we never know what is coming through this month.  

My face was covered in sweat with sweat drops falling off my nose as I put down the clippers and got  my camera.   I sighed as the quiet  of  the  woods settled  in.  I was on my knees taking a photo of a very small gray tree frog that I had carefully avoided  while weeding earlier.  He was about the size of  my fingernail. Then in the quiet I heard an unusual sound.  

It was a very close whoosh-whoosh-whoosh.  I looked toward the garage wondering if  hubby was in there and had turned on some fan that had trouble starting.   It was an odd quiet sound and I just knew it was mechanical.  Then a shadow  crossed over me and as I looked up a  large bald eagle flew 12 to 15 feet over  my head and was crossing the lawn heading toward our gate and other trees at the front of the yard.  

Yes, I was too much in awe of  his prescence to  turn  the camera on him fast enough.  His flight was so quiet that you would only have heard it when there was no other noise aroundIt reminded me of the very quiet flight of the barred  owl  that we had unintentionally followed down the river on our second canoe  trip  the other day.  These birds of prey are certainly most stealthy.